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dirt under my feet




It rained this afternoon so I watched a video and a couple of tv programs. I went to visit my Mum this morning in her Dementia Lodge and got her to giggle by playing one of those games where you pretend to be a spider, creeping your fingers along until they touch the hand they have on the table. The same game makes Alex laugh too. Also got her to drink her strawberry milk down too which pleased the nurses. She doesn't drink enough now and as a result has frequent UTI's which have to be treated with antibiotics.


I did some shopping and yes! even bought a cheap sweater to begin the update of my wardrobe. Like some of you I hang on to my clothes two or three years longer than I should. If I have time later in the week I will attend to the sorting of my winter clothes, see what is worth keeping and bag the rest to go into the waste or to the charity shop. I'd like to close my eyes and throw it all away, but all my Scottish ancestors would spin in their graves:" just think of the cost, keep your baubies in your purse" they would cry.


I watched an Australian movie called "Strictly Ballroom" about a ficticious ballroom champion who finally decides he wants to dance his own way, not the "strictly ballroom" style he has danced since the age of six. He has a mother who is a dancing teacher and a father who appears to be a bumbling handyman. It is a good movie and has a strange but happy ending. It brings back some happy memories of when Ray and I used to dance together. He was soooo smooth on his feet, we could glide and spin and our feet would never let us down. Ah! those were the days. So long ago.


Co-incidentally I then watched a program on an Aboriginal choreographer and how he took up dancing and then nurturing young dancers. He compared the dancing of "white fellas" to that of "black fellas". He said white people dance with learned steps, even the young have moves they make that makes a dance authentic. He said "black fellas" dance to tell a story. They have some traditional movements they make but each dancer choses how they interpret the moves. They have to keep the feeling of the "dirt under their feet". I thought that was a very interesting idea. And having visited the Red Centre and a lot of inland Australia I can see how that evolved. The dirt under your feet, the sky high above your head, in some places that is all there is, with maybe some low scrub to use as a wind-break at your back.


I wonder how where you live influences who you are? I have grown up in small villages, some larger towns and the coastal suburbs. I have never lived in a big city and the furthest I have lived from town is five miles. I lived in England till the age of seven and since then in Australia. I am an Australian citizen. However I don't have aboriginal blood so although I have had some aboriginal friends and think the life is fascinating I can't say I can fully understand it. But taking off my shoes and wriggling my toes in the red dust of Central Australia has been one of my life experiences.


Ray's walking is gradually getting stronger. He walked slowly into church on Sunday. He takes a long time to get there but it isn't the time taken that counts it is the getting there. Sadly somedays I can still see superimposed against that shuffling figure the twinkle toes he used to be. He could run, jump, climb at a great pace. I can remember him a year before his stroke as steady as a rock on the steepled roof of our old church, bending over and fixing the gutter. Now he has to sit down to tie his shoe laces and just lately I have taken over doing that too, if we are in a hurry. It is so sad that he is slowly deteriorating again. His doctor seems a bit puzzled about why it is happening but puts it down partly to the dementia making all his thought processing slower, so something like tying his shoes which is a process takes more time.


Sometimes I am envious of our friends who are once more, with the winter approaching, packing up their caravan, RV's etc and taking off to warmer climates. They sometimes see us in the shopping centre and cheerfully tell us that they won't see us for some months and give us a rough run-down of their future itinerary. It is hard to smile and nod and look impressed. I think I deserve a Logie for some of my acting on this one. I hope it is coming across as sincere as I want it to.


Only in my dreams now do Ray and I walk in the sand, hand-in-hand. I had that dream again last night. Ok I can say, probably just that old, sad sentimental Sue and her wishful thinking. Acceptance - where are you?



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Glad you had a good visit with your Mum. And....the news that Ray walked into church! It may not be pretty but he made it, that's what's important.


Your thoughts on acceptance got me thinking - where am I regarding acceptance? Hmmmmm...........thank you for the subject of a future blog. :D

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Sue - I love your blogs. You are so honest and open. You really help me examine my priorities. I love the picture in my mind of you wiggling your toes in the red dirt. I remembered how much I used to love to walk in mud as a child and feel it squeeze up between my toes. Then I got to remembering the mud baths Denny took me to once when we were traveling. It was a surprize and so relaxing. Then when you talked of Ray's twinkle toes I remember how much Denny and I loved to dance together.


Thank you for taking me back to some memories of my past that warmed my heart.

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Your blog brought back memories of when my Mom had Alzheimer's and I placed her in a nursing home for Alzheimer's patients. One night, I was having dinner w/ her and several of her friends sat w/ us. After our dinner, we continued our "conversation." I sat back and was amazed at this "conversation." I could see the ladies for their former selves. There was the lady who was involved in the PTA. She always stuck up for the kids and had their best interests at heart. There was the organizer. She organized everything. Then there was the Stock Broker, who happened to be a very good friend of my mother's in their former lives. The Stock Broker was the first woman stock broker on Wall Street in her former life.


These women would talk to each other and have a "conversation." Every once in awhile, one of them would stop and ask me if I understood what her counterpart was saying. Well, they were having a "conversation," but not necessarily the SAME conversation. So I would think and figure out a common thread to what they were saying to each other and off they would go continuing that same "conversation."


The Stock Broker (SB) used to love to talk w/ me. I always made a point of talking about stocks to her. It didn't really matter what I said but we always had an interesting "conversation." I would talk to her about what I read in the Wall Street Journal and she would ask my opinion. Her response to that would usually be "That's what I thought, too."


It was interesting to me because this is what I called their "staple" phrase. I found these phrases were what they said in their former lives but carried over to their present reality. My mother had the same thing. She would say things like "...and so on..." and "yep, that'll do it." These phrases were defensive social graces that kept other people from understanding how far along these patients were into their dementias.


The women were fascinating and I loved their company. I loved trying to figure out a common thread so they could keep their "conversation" going.


I loved reading about Ray's ability to walk into church. The pretty will come later, after much practice. Thank you for your blog. Take Care. LK

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Sue I 'm so happy to hear that Ray is walking. It will probably be slow for a while but with his determination and your help I'm certain he will come along and still have a better quality of life than before.. Today hubby and I dug out an apple tree that the deer stripped over winter and killed and then this afternoon we dug out a small blue spruce and transplanted it to another area in the garden.. I was so proud of his accomplishments.. We hope to finish the yard this year as it has been five years post stoke since we could do much.. He has a hard time understanding what I want him to do and thinks I am bossing him when I try to help so it creates some problems of communication..

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Sue as I read your blog I get misty eyed at what you're going through. Your blog has brought a new realization to me about what my wife must of gone through during and after my stroke.

What with the house to spruce up, pack up, sell, look for an apartment, move us, setup our new home, work all day in the meantime, and come see me every night like clockwork.

You've had a tough go of it, as has your husband, and I thank you for sharing it with us.



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